The Columbus Dispatch
Millions of U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and veterans are among a group that some say is being ill-served by one of the three huge pharmacy middlemen that dominate America’s drug marketplace.
Millions of U.S. service members and veterans are among a group that some say is being ill-served by one of the three huge pharmacy middlemen that dominate America’s drug marketplace.
Patients, providers and pharmacists across the country complain that those middlemen, known as pharmacy benefit managers, have used their market dominance to drive up prices and drive out competition and force patients into the PBMs’ own — some contend inferior — mail-order pharmacies.
In Ohio, PBMs have been accused of overbilling taxpayers, anti-competitive practices and interfering with cancer patients’ access to medication. Now, similar complaints are surfacing about the exclusive contract that one of them, Express Scripts, has with Tricare, the program that provides health care to active-duty military and to veterans.
Since 2009, Express Scripts has held the exclusive right to serve as pharmacy benefit manager to 9.5 million active-duty troops and veterans as well as their dependents, who together received $7.7 billion worth of drugs in 2018, according to statistics from the Defense Health Agency, which runs Tricare. That contract makes the program one of the biggest clients of St. Louis-based Express Scripts, the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit manager.